When it comes to stories about board members pushing their own pet projects, stalling meetings, and generally gumming up their HOA’s administrative works for selfish reasons, most property mangers have one or two doozies.
Consider this tale from the trenches: “One board member just kept trying to convince the other members that this certain contractor wasn’t needed for a particular job, even though everyone knew he was wrong,” says one property manager. “Turns out he just didn’t want to pay for his share of the project—and he ended up taking up 3-1/2 hours of meeting time! They had a very long agenda, but nothing else got done. Finally, another board member got fed up and walked out of the meeting.”
Granted, we all have persona agendas—it’s part of human nature. Most of us vote for political candidates based on what they would do to benefit us personally. Parents typically join the PTA or a school committee because their child is in the school, and they want to make certain their child receives the best benefits possible—they don’t tend to remain on that committee or PTA group after their child graduates.
When it comes to HOA boards, many members join because they have a personal issue that’s important to them and they want to see it through. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when those personal agendas and pet projects encroach on a board meeting, stir up controversy and discord, or prevent other important business issues from being conducted, it can become troublesome—and even legally actionable.
“The most common meeting-related problem I have seen,” says Nancy Hastings, CMCO, AMS of MAMCO Property Management in Mt. Laurel, “is people coming to a board meeting with the sole intent of just getting something off their chest or righting something that they feel is wrong.” Perfectly understandable, Hastings continues, but problems can arise when board members over-focus and make the entire meeting about their problem.